Review: Not My Fault (Cath Howe)

 

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Genre: Children
Publisher: Nosy Crow
Publication Date: May 2nd 2019
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 268

Blurb from Goodreads:

Maya and Rose won’t talk to each other.

Even though they are sisters.

Not since the accident.

Maya is running wild, and Rose doesn’t know what to do.

Now Maya and Rose have to go away together on a week-long school journey. But will the trip – and a life-threatening adventure – fix their relationship… or break it for good?

A beautiful story of family, forgiveness, and finding out who you are, from the author of the highly-acclaimed Ella on the Outside.


RATING

3 STARS!

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

Not My Fault follows two sisters who go for a one-week trip and trying to fix their relationship after a life threatening event.

I love to read stories of family and forgiveness because it is very relatable. Sometimes it is not easy to forgive and forget the ones who have wronged us. We may feel that they are the ones who do the damage in the relationship, but we must remember that they are always two sides in a story. We must be rational in judging the situation and never take sides.

I like the theme of the story, but I don’t like the story line and characters. Maya is a rebel who doesn’t care about people around her and Rose doesn’t know how to approach Maya since the accident. Their attitude tires me and makes me want to end the story even faster. Their parents are also out of picture, since most of time they are away from home to attend the school trip. So, the book lacks some parents-daughter moments to compliment the story. I understand the author wants Maya and Rose to figure out ways to fix their relationship but the reconciliation moment is too rushed that there is nothing special behind it.

Special thanks to Pansing Books for providing me a copy of Not My Fault.

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Sabrina

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ARC Review: The Words That Fly Between Us (Sarah Carroll)

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Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Children’s UK

Publication Date: 
May 2nd 2019
Format:
ARC 
Paperback
Source: 
Pansing Books
Page Count:
256

Blurb from Goodreads:

Lucy’s father is a successful lawyer making a killing on the property market. She and her mother want for nothing. Nothing, that is, that can be bought.
But money cannot buy Lucy the words she needs. The words to stand up to her bully of a father. The words to inspire her mother to do something about the family life that is suffocating them both. The words to become the person she wants to be.

Then Lucy finds something else: An escape route…
Soon she discovers that every building on her row is connected, through the attic, to the next. As she explores the inner lives of those who live on her street, Lucy realises that she is not the only one to suffer in silence. She also sees ways she can help some, and ways to punish those that deserve it.

But as the mighty fall, Lucy is forced to realise that while she can affect the lives of others from the safety of the attic, she will need to climb down to face her own fears.


RATING

4 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

I think this is the most heavy middle grade book that I have ever read. The reason I say this book is particularly heavy is because the main character has gone through such an ordeal, that she has done something that truly changes her life as a whole. Her realisation towards on what is right and what is wrong in investment is truly daunting to me that she believes that whoever who is guilty in money laundering must be punished.

Lucy is such a brave and mature main character and I am truly impressed on her mental growth and development throughout the book. She has observed such abusive relationship between her parents and she has learned that it is truly despicable to wrongly treat someone like that. I feel for her, when she feels so unhelpful and scared of her abusive parental figure. This emotional pain has made her to become someone who can stand up for her mother and doing the right thing to correct them.

I can see through the perspective of Lucy on how stressful it is to be involved in the property investment because there are many ups and downs that you have to face and not everyone can be trusted when it comes to money. Lucy is also an artist, she loves to draw and I love it when she follows her heart to do something that she dears the most.

Many thanks to Pansing Books for allowing me to review this book for them!

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Sabrina

ARC Review: Check Mates (Stewart Foster)

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Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Children’s UK

Publication Date: 
June 27th 2019
Format:
ARC 
Paperback
Source: 
Pansing Books
Page Count:
345

Blurb from Goodreads:

A funny, moving and utterly original story about one boy’s struggle with dyslexia from Stewart Foster, award-winning author of THE BUBBLE BOY

My name is Felix Schopp and I am 11 years old. Some people think that I’m a problem child, that I’m lazy and never pay attention in lessons and will do anything to get out of them. And it’s true. I will. I’d rather climb a tree than do English, do the washing up instead of homework and I’ll walk anywhere than have to study a map or the bus timetable. But that’s not so bad is it? You see the thing is, I’m not a problem child at all. I’m just a child with a problem.


RATING

4 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

It has been a while since I read Middle Grade books. One of my little joys is reading them because I truly love reading about children and exploring their thinking process.

Felix, an 11-year-old boy, is an ADHD sufferer. He finds it very hard to focus in class and doing his school work. His granddad comes out with a very good plan on how to keep Felix out of trouble, and the plan is to teach him play chess. As someone who is not able to concentrate well, he hates playing it. Until one moment when he truly sits down in front of his granddad to play chess, he realises that there are many things that can be learned from chess.

I am not an avid fan or player of chess, but I do play chess with my little brother to kill some time. It is so interesting and impressive to read about the history behind chess and the strategies that we can learn to beat our opponent.

Throughout the book, I truly love the connection between Felix and his granddad that they have developed. I love how his granddad is persistent to help Felix to change. I am also impressed by Granddad’s backstory, how Cold War happened and the division of East and West Germany with the Berlin Wall.

Thank you Pansing Books for providing me this ARC!

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Sabrina

Review: City of Ghosts (Victoria Schwab)

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Blurb from Goodreads:

Cassidy Blake’s parents are The Inspecters, a (somewhat inept) ghost-hunting team. But Cass herself can REALLY see ghosts. In fact, her best friend, Jacob, just happens to be one.

When The Inspecters head to ultra-haunted Edinburgh, Scotland, for their new TV show, Cass—and Jacob—come along. In Scotland, Cass is surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. Then she meets Lara, a girl who can also see the dead. But Lara tells Cassidy that as an In-betweener, their job is to send ghosts permanently beyond the Veil. Cass isn’t sure about her new mission, but she does know the sinister Red Raven haunting the city doesn’t belong in her world. Cassidy’s powers will draw her into an epic fight that stretches through the worlds of the living and the dead, in order to save herself.


RATING

4 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

I love reading Middle Grade books. Middle Grade books bring joy to me, even though they are mainly focused on children. Their perspective to the world and towards their own lives as a whole mesmerize me the most. Their capacity to enjoy and explore the world with their own developed minds makes me feel like a kid again.

I have only read Victoria Schwab’s The Savage Song, unfortunately I wasn’t a fan of it. I could not understand the story at all, the characters were so one-dimensional and uninteresting. So, when City of Ghosts comes out and I find out that it is indeed a middle grade book, I have a feeling that I must try to at least read this masterpiece.

City of Ghosts is whimsical and quirky adventure of Cass and Jacob, following their journey to Edinburgh, Scotland to hunt for ghosts. I truly love reading about how passionate Cass’ parents are in documenting their findings on their new show on paranormal matters. I also love the dynamics between Cass and Jacob, even though they are different. they are still there for one another.

To be honest, the story is kind of easy and simple to read, since it is targeted to young audiences. However, I don’t have any problems reading it and it does not stop from enjoying it. I appreciate the fact that the author puts many Harry Potter references in the book, like Hogwarts house names and the origin of Harry Potter, which is Edinburgh itself.

I am interested to read the next book!

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Sabrina

Review: Clownfish (Alan Durant)

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Genre: Children’s
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
Publication date: November 1st 2018
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 219

Synopsis: 

~My Dad~

Species: Clownfish (Daddicus fishibum)
Habitat: The aquarium
Food: Fish flakes/cheeseburgers

Special note: 

After Dad’s funeral, I thought I’d never see him again. But when I visited the aquarium, there he was – only, he’d turned into a clownfish! I don’t think Mum’s ready to hear the news just yet. So for now, it’ll have to be my secret..


RATING

4 STARS!

HERE’S MY THOUGHTS!

After a very stressful week of committing to life, I would need a happy, light and easy read for me to devour please, thank you very much!

This book, Clownfish is a perfect read, initially I thought that this book was all about happiness and joy but I was wrong. It is heavier than that.

Clownfish is a moving story about friendship, love, family and heartache. Dak’s life with his family was unfortunately very short as his father has passed away due to heart disease. I felt for him because as a growing child, he truly needed the support from both of his parents. We saw his view after the transition with his life. Thankfully, his close friends were so kind and supportive of him and they always seemed concerned about Dak’s wellbeing.

He discovered something mind-blowing and unbelievable after his dad’s death. He kept this as a secret from everybody else and kept on focusing with his life until he neglected school. This was truly understandable as a child like him need time and space to recover.

My favourite part of this story was the relationship with his newly found mate, Violet, who was the niece to the owner of the aquarium that Dak has always visited. She reminded me of Darla in Finding Nemo because at first she was quite unbearable to begin with, but at the middle of the story, she became Dak’s best friend and they went through quite an adventure together.

Overall, I totally loved reading this story, it felt so honest yet poignant. I loved all the characters in this book, they all showed great characteristics and moral values.

This is my first time reading Alan Durant’s book and believe it or not, this masterpiece is his 100th book that he has written! This book is totally special to him, as the book is dedicated to his late father who died in 2016, Christopher Durant. And I think it is very special for me too.

Thank you so much Pansing Books for providing me this review copy! 

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Sabrina

Review: Whichwood (Tahereh Mafi)

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Blurb from Goodreads:

A new adventure about a girl who is fated to wash the bodies of the dead in this companion to Furthermore.

Our story begins on a frosty night…

Laylee can barely remember the happier times before her beloved mother died. Before her father, driven by grief, lost his wits (and his way). Before she was left as the sole remaining mordeshoor in the village of Whichwood, destined to spend her days washing the bodies of the dead and preparing their souls for the afterlife. It’s become easy to forget and easier still to ignore the way her hands are stiffening and turning silver, just like her hair, and her own ever-increasing loneliness and fear.

But soon, a pair of familiar strangers appears, and Laylee’s world is turned upside down as she rediscovers color, magic, and the healing power of friendship.


RATING

4.5 STARS!

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

After finishing Whichwood, I can truly say that Tahereh Mafi is a great writer! Her story, characters, words written are so perfect and beautiful. This companion to Futhermore is definitely worth the wait. In my experience, Whichwood’s story is better than Futhermore in terms of story line and writing per se. I was constantly amazed while reading because of her writing was so flowery, all descriptions were perfectly describe and well-detailed. I also loved the Persian fantasy elements in the novel. All of the depiction of the main character’s work as a mordeshoor, who washes dead bodies in preparation for the afterlife were very knowledgeable and appreciated. Alice and Oliver from Futhermore appearance’s made the story even more enjoyable and entertaining and that even made the story even more wonderful. The friendship between the young children stood out the most and that was definitely the best part of the book.

Several important messages were perceived in the book, thus it shows that middle grade books do offer critical significance for us adults to ponder upon, even though the story is whimsical and amusing. One of themes that was very prominent to me was child labour. See, the book is darker than you even expected! The story revolved around Laylee, who was an overworked child and often undervalued by the society. This was definitely an exploitive act done by irresponsible grown-ups in the story. This scenario is no stranger to the real world. Children are often exploited because they (employers) think that they can simply be ordered, hence they will be deprived from going to school and experience a normal childhood. God I love stories with immense lesson for us readers to reflect!

All in all, I love everything about this story and I do hope that there will be another companion to this whimsical middle grade story!

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Sabrina

Review: Flipped (Wendelin Van Draanen)

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Blurb from Goodreads:

Flipped is a romance told in two voices. The first time Juli Baker saw Bryce Loski, she flipped. The first time Bryce saw Juli, he ran. That’s pretty much the pattern for these two neighbors until the eighth grade, when, just as Juli is realizing Bryce isn’t as wonderful as she thought, Bryce is starting to see that Juli is pretty amazing. How these two teens manage to see beyond the surface of things and come together makes for a comic and poignant romance.


RATINGS

4.4 STARS

HERE’S MY THOUGHTS!

Flipped is a bittersweet story between two kids named Bryce Loski and Julianna Baker, who are neighbours. Their families are so different in many ways. One of it is their upbringings. Both of them have their own distinctive characteristics that charm the readers.

Their families play an important role in nurturing and moulding them. We can see how both of their parents instill good (and bad) moral values to the child hence we can observe how the child act based on their learnings from their parents.

I love both Julianna and Bryce. Julianna is a selfless and determined little child, who willingly helps her family. She knows that her life isn’t that easy, as a result she makes life better by helping in fixing the yard of her house and producing eggs to support her own expenditure. I think nothing is more heroic than that. She is beautiful because of her strong spirit and motivation. Her parents are the loveliest people. They are very supportive of her doings and work really hard to support the family.

Bryce on the other hand, is quite the opposite of Julianna. It really is not a bad thing, but it is really not entirely his fault. His father, Mr. Loski portrays such toxic behaviour and sayings towards him hence he thinks that it is alright for him to treat people badly, in this case, Julianna. He initially treat Julianna mediocrely because he thinks that they are bad people.

As the story progresses, the kids has aged maturely, they realise many things. They understand the real meaning of friendship, familial ties and life. They see things from different kind of perspectives. They appreciate people who are always with them during good and bad times and they avoid people who negative in their lives.

And that is my friends, makes the story even beautiful ❤

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Sabrina